I first wrote about Kelle Hampton's Bloom back in February, when the amazing and moving trailer for the book was released. Today I am honored to have a guest post from Kelle herself about the act of writing her memoir, and how it closely mirrored parenting, which goes on sale next Tuesday, April 3rd. Read on.
Writing a book while being a stay-at-home mom is a little bit like parenting itself. There are productive days when you are amazed with just how much got accomplished and you want to shout to everyone within earshot “Look at me! I’m doing it!”, and then there are days—probably more often than not—where everything you set out to do gets neglected and you hope nobody noticed.
I’ll never forget the day it was official. The book was real, there was a publish date, I couldn’t back out. I hung up the phone with my editors, looked out into my living room where my girls were scaling the wall of an out-of-control laundry pile, and I had this terrorizing moment of “Oh my God, what am I doing?” I have realized though that the surest way to prove a new adventure is worthwhile is if it includes a terrorizing moment of “Oh my God, what am I doing?”
Making time for things that are important—things that enrich our lives and make us happy—well, it takes work. Runners set their alarms to meet the pavement pre-dusk, wives arrange babysitters to prepare for date night, girlfriends block off special Friday nights on their calendar to have drinks with friends. As for me, I plow through arduous-yet-fulfilling days of mothering my girls, making crafts, baking cupcakes and cleaning up messes, searching for hidden moments when I can escape to write.
The challenge in writing for me isn’t so much finding the time, but finding the right time. Creative inspiration cannot be scheduled like a hair cut or predicted like a moon phase. You just know it when it comes. And sometimes, ironic as it may be, it shows up with all its beauty and wit and expression and clear thinking when the time is clearly wrong. When it’s the middle of the day, my husband is gone, the house is a wreck and grilled cheese is burning on the stove.
Elizabeth Gilbert had the opportunity to interview the great poet Ruth Stone, who described her reaction to this same untimely inspiration. She said there were times when she could feel and hear a poem coming and if she wasn’t in a place to write, she would run as quickly as she could to find a piece of paper and pencil in time to collect the inspiration and capture it.
During the process of writing Bloom, there were plenty of occasions where I, likewise, had to run to write—to collect and capture inspiration when it came. Many of the memories and stories in this memoir are painful to recall, and I knew I needed to be truly in tune with those emotions in order to write about them honestly and expressively. Sometimes these moments arrived late at night when, amid bedtime routines and settling down for the day, I’d give my husband that familiar look. “Babe, I have to go write.” And he knew it was important. He knew it might not be there the next morning.
Some nights I felt the floodgates open, and I wrote quickly and fluidly for as long as I felt inspired. Some nights I bounced a baby to sleep on my knees while I reached over and typed above her. And some nights I set aside quiet writing time, anxious to get work done only to find I wasn’t feeling it—the timing wasn’t right. Regardless, it all worked out. Just like parenting when the bad days and good days, productive days and I-could-have-done-better days all blend together to tell a story. Our story.
Kelle Hampton's preorder offer for book clubs is in effect until the book's on sale date next Tuesday, April 3rd. See below for details. Also be sure to check out her Facebook page as well as her website Enjoying the Small Things, to see her amazing photography and read more of her story.